You may have thought curls are forever, but that’s clearly not the case. Even if you were born with the tightest curls ever, they could disappear with a “poof” later on.
If you’re experiencing this issue and want to know why it’s happening, this is the article for you. Not only will we school you on why your curls may have pulled a Houdini, but we’ll teach you proven tactics to get your natural curls back.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Do Natural Curls Disappear?
- 2 My Hair is Naturally Curly But Won’t Curl Anymore
- 3 Your Hair Is Severely Heat Damaged
- 4 What to Do If Nothing Works
Why Do Natural Curls Disappear?
Natural curls can disappear due to several factors, including chronically dry hair, severe heat damage, hair growth, product buildup, genetics, and over-processing of the hair.
Remedies include hydration methods, stopping heat tool usage, haircuts, clarifying shampoo, protein treatments, and seeking professional help if nothing works.
My Hair is Naturally Curly But Won’t Curl Anymore
Disappearing curls are more common than you think. They may disappear altogether, loosen here and there, or even become completely straightened out. Either way, you should be able to identify a specific cause, and when you do, you’ll have the information you need to take the right steps.
Your Hair is Chronically Dry
Something really cool about curly hair is that moisture makes them more noticeable. That’s why your curls are much more defined after you get out of the shower or when you spritz them with your leave-in conditioner spray.
But if your hair is always lacking in moisture, it will lose its ability to curl like it once did. Does your hair regularly feel as arid as the Sahara? This could be the reason behind your disappearing curls!
How to Remedy Dry Hair
Dry hair is surprisingly easy to remedy with the right products and a little bit of effort on your part. You’ll need to use some combination of conditioners, leave-in conditioners, oils, and moisturizers to give your hair extra hydration on a regular basis.
One hair hydration method that people all over use to up their hair’s moisture levels is the LOC method. The method calls for you to layer moisturizing and sealing products onto your hair in a particular order.
You’ll start with a liquid or leave-in conditioner spray (L), follow that up with an oil of your choice (O) and finish things off with a moisturizing cream (C). If you try the LOC method after every wash, you’ll quickly see a difference if your hair.
Your Hair Is Severely Heat Damaged
Heat damage is one of the most common culprits of disappearing curls. Extreme heat damages the outermost layer of your hair: the cuticle.
It breaks the protein bonds that make up your hair’s structure, thus weakening your curl pattern. The more heat you apply to your hair, the higher your chances of experiencing curl loss.
How to Fix Heat-Damaged Hair
To bring your curls back after heat damage, you’ll first have to stop using heat on your hair. Put away your flat iron, blow dryer, curling iron, etc. Your hair needs a break from heat tools.
In addition, you’ll need to ramp up your conditioning sessions with a protein-based deep conditioner or bond rebuilder. Both will enhance your hair’s strength and help rebuild its structure.
Lastly, you’ll want to protect your hair against any heat-related danger in the future. With these measures in place, your curls will begin to bounce back.
With heat damage, you should be sure to manage your expectations. There’s no guarantee your curls will be completely restored, but you should see some level of improvement in your hair texture.
Your Hair Has Grown
Hair growth is a good thing, right? In most cases, yes! But there’s one downside to anyone’s growing mane: as your hair grows, your curls will inevitably loosen due to gravity. This could be the reason why your curls are missing in action.
How to Combat Gravity
Combating gravity, in this case, is as easy as getting a haircut. With less weight pulling on each strand, you’ll notice more curl definition.
This may not be the right solution for everyone, but if you’re willing to kiss a few inches of hair goodbye, your curls could reappear immediately. That is if gravity is to blame for your missing curls.
You Have Product Buildup
Product buildup occurs when residue from your hair care and styling products hardens around your hair strands. This residue acts as a barrier and restricts your hair’s ability to move freely. As a result, your curls aren’t able to take their proper shape.
Products with water-insoluble ingredients are more likely to build up in your hair than others. These include insoluble silicones, petrolatum, waxes, and more.
How to Eliminate Product Buildup
Product build-up is no match for the average clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos are supercharged shampoos with a higher concentration of cleansers than the average shampoo.
To use a clarifying shampoo, you’ll drench your hair with water, apply the clarifying shampoo, lather well, wait a few minutes, and then rinse your hair thoroughly.
It could take several tries to achieve full build-up elimination. So, you’ll have to be patient during the process.
Genetics Could Be the Culprit
It could be all in your genes. Without getting too scientific, there are genes that control how your hair looks, feels, and consequently behaves.
At any point in life, the genes controlling your curl pattern could switch off. This could result in your hair growing straighter than you’re used to.
Many people start off with curly hair as a child and lose their curl pattern as they grow older. This is 100% normal and nothing to worry about. However, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Your Hair Is Over-processed
Over-processing your hair with high-lift hair dye, bleach, and texturizers is a surefire way to lose your curl pattern. Chemical treatments like these go beneath the hair cuticle and change the internal structure of the hair.
The main issue with treatments like these is they often result in protein loss and a loosening of your curl pattern. Sometimes, the effects of these treatments are so severe your hair becomes a gummy mess, necessitating a rescue haircut.
How to Remedy Chemical Damage
Chemical damage can cause lasting damage to your hair. In the most severe cases, you’ll have to cut off any areas that have gone completely straight.
Areas the curl pattern has simply loosened rather than straightened may bounce back with some hair TLC. This means replenishing the hair’s protein levels with a protein treatment and keeping your strands moisturized thereafter.
It’s also a good idea to lay off the hair chemicals indefinitely. Putting more chemicals on compromised hair is a big no-no. Over time, you may see your hair texture returning.
Note: Regardless of the protein treatment you choose, it’s imperative to become an unofficial expert on how to use the product. Read the instructions several times and reference them while performing the treatment.
What to Do If Nothing Works
There’s a home remedy for virtually anything, but there’s no guarantee that your specific hair problem can be remedied with the above techniques–no matter how promising they are. If you hit a wall and find that your curls are still hiding out, it’s time to reach out to a professional.
You can go to a stylist in your area, provided that they are well-versed in how to care for curly natural hair. Not every stylist has the skills or knowledge to help you.
At your appointment, the stylist will take a close look at your hair, ask you about your hair routine and history, and tell you what they believe the issue is. They may then recommend a curl restoration plan or product(s) to help you get your curls back.
- Straight Top Curly Bottom Hair
- How to Get Curl Pattern Back
- How to Get Back Curly Hair From Childhood
So, there you have it–several of the most common culprits behind disappearing curls.
We’ve also thrown in several remedies you can use to coax out your curl pattern. We hope that you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best with your curls!
Kenneth Byrd holds a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. With over 15 years of experience, Kenneth has been dedicated to hair care since 2008, when he co-founded Curl Centric® and Natural Hair Box alongside his wife. As a team, they promote healthy hair care practices through their comprehensive platform, Curl Centric. Curl Centric is a website operated by a husband and wife team that encourages healthy hair care. At Curl Centric, we aim to help our readers take control of their hair care journey and make good decisions about products, hairstyles, and maintenance techniques. We also have strict editorial integrity; here’s an explanation of our editorial guidelines and how we make money.